Does the thought of lugging around a huge heavy pack this Autumn put you off planning a weekend away? If so then maybe lightweight backpacking is for you. Making just a few changes in your choice of kit and creative thinking can drastically reduce the final carrying weight of your rucksack.
10 ways to reduce the weight of your backpack
- Frugality – It sounds like common sense but before you pack something ask yourself “do I really need this?”.
- Multifunction – Take pieces of kit that can perform more than one function. For example a candle can be used for light, a waterproofing agent and a fire starter
- Go titanium – It’s 45% lighter than steel but just as strong. Don’t be put off by the price, it will pay for itself in the long run and your back will thank you for it.
Sleep light – Take a sleeping bag that is suitable to the prevailing weather conditions. The difference in weight between a 3 season sleeping bag and a 4 season sleeping can be considerable. If it does get colder than expected wear your clothes to bed.
- Cooking – Do you really need lots of pots and pans on your trip? A small pan can easily take the place of a mug or bowl. Why take a full cutlery set when your fingers and a Titanium Spoonfork will suffice. Again go titanium to save on weight.
- Clothing – It is always advisable to take 2 sets of clothes, one to wear and one as a spare so be selective in what you take. A long sleeve thermal base layer can double up as a t-shirt if it gets too warm by rolling up the sleeves. They also make ideal pyjamas if the nights are cool.
Shelter – There are lots of very lightweight tents available on the market these days. If your budget does not stretch that far then buy a tent that has a separate fly sheet. On milder weekends you need only take the outer sheet to pitch. Replace heavy manufacturers tent pegs with ultralight titanium tent pegs.
- Portion Plan – Work out exactly how much food you are going to need each day. Fat contains double the amount of calories than carbohydrate and protein. This will allow you to pack enough food using less space and weight.
- Heavy water – A weighty essential commodity but you can reduce the amount you need to carry. If you know there are going to be secure water sources along your route then only carry what is needed to see you between these point. Drinking as much as possible at these sources will also reduce the amount you need to carry.
- Washing – Is it necessary? Think of all that weight that could be saved if that toiletries bag went missing. Just take a small pack of wet wipes for hygiene.
Please remember that your safety and well-being is your first priority when considering what to pack in your rucksack.